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Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15

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Stilly River Sage 30 Dec 15 - 12:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Dec 15 - 07:20 PM
Rapparee 30 Dec 15 - 09:54 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 15 - 10:19 AM
Rapparee 31 Dec 15 - 10:46 AM
Nigel Parsons 31 Dec 15 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,HiLo 31 Dec 15 - 11:01 AM
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Subject: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify cas
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 12:43 PM

I am curious, with all of the songs in the DT, how many times could questions of authorship have been answered by a google search that would take people to the Mudcat DT?

Spotify Faces Class Action For Copyright Infringement


Spotify, the groundbreaking streaming music service, is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that it violates the copyrights of thousands of independent musicians.

If the songwriters prevail it could cost Spotify tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties. And according to experts in the music industry, this may be only the beginning, because other streaming services reportedly commit the same violations.

The named plaintiff in the lawsuit, filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, is David Lowery, an outspoken musicians' rights advocate and frontman of rock bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. He says his songs have been streamed hundreds of thousands of times without his permission.

Lowery, who also teaches music business at the University of Georgia, alleges that Spotify streams his songs without getting licenses from him to do it or paying him accordingly.

In a statement, Spotify says it has tried to find rights holders, but "the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders is often missing, wrong or incomplete." Spotify says it has set aside a fund to pay songwriters when they are identified. Earlier this month, it announced that it would invest in "a comprehensive publishing administration system" to better track royalty information.

"The point is not that they didn't set aside royalties; the point is that they never got the licenses in the first place," Lowery tells NPR. "There appears to be no licenses on my songs and a great number of songwriters' songs. Setting aside the royalty, what is that royalty based on? There's no license."

Lowery's lawyer, Sanford Michelman, says Spotify may owe tens of millions of dollars not just in unpaid royalties but also for copyright infringement, which can run as high as $150,000 per violation.

Music streaming services have been a growing and popular business, but they have faced opposition from artists including Prince, Thom Yorke, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and most recently Adele.

A major sticking point has been how these services pay the musicians for distributing their music. One study of the music business by the Berklee College of Music's Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship suggested earlier this year that anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of music payments don't make it to their rightful owners.

And as NPR's Joel Rose has reported, the songwriters often get a far smaller share of those payments:

    "The way those royalties are split is far from equal, in part because there are two different types of copyright holders for every song a streaming service plays. One is the owner of the sound recording — that's usually the artist or the record label. The other is the person (or persons) who wrote the song, or someone else to whom rights have been granted, like a music publisher."


(Rose explained in detail the legal framework that guides the music industry in a story earlier this year.)

Here's a bit of background on Lowery's case from The Wrap:

    "The class-action suit identifies members of the class to be anyone who owns reproduction and distribution rights of copyrighted songs that have been played by Spotify.

    "Lowery has long been an advocate for artists' interests as the music business shifts its business models. In a 2013 blog post, he recounted how online radio service Pandora paid him just $16.89 in songwriter royalties for more than 1 million spins of Cracker's hit song 'Low.' "


Lowery's lawsuit only names Spotify and doesn't include the major song publishers (Sony, for example, has an agreement with Spotify). But Jeff Price, CEO of publishing rights tracking company Audiam, says he has seen a similar problem at all the services, including Apple, Google and Tidal.

"This suit brings to the foreground an endemic problem that has existed since the launch of the interactive streaming music services," Price says.


See the court document and the rest of the story at the link. NPR links tend to be durable.


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Subject: RE: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 07:20 PM

There are many facets to the story that have been discussed here before. Lots of people have been shorted, even if they were identified as eligible for the revenue from any particular work.

Portishead made just $2,500 off of 34 million streams

The newest suit is about those who the streaming service never attempted to identify.


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Subject: RE: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15
From: Rapparee
Date: 30 Dec 15 - 09:54 PM

But the DT isn't streaming, attribution is given where known, and it should be up to the user to contact the author.


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Subject: RE: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:19 AM

I was thinking more about how often people from outside of the mudcat community land on the DT when they're searching for stuff. It's a starting point for some things, and in others, illustrates the complicated history of a particular song (especially traditional folk songs). The DT is a silent powerhouse behind Mudcat itself. How often does it lure in new members? Etc. I think we sometimes forget how Mudcat got started. Thanks again, Max! :)


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Subject: RE: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15
From: Rapparee
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:46 AM

The DT? Drawing in people like me? Oh, surely not! They would most certainly visit libraries and archives and do field research to document a songs history before singing, not turn to li'l ol' Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 10:58 AM

A music rights lawyer who fronts a band ripping off the name of a famous composer.
Oh well, I suppose that, as he's been dead more than 70 years, then that's ok!


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Subject: RE: Digital Tradition as a tool? Spotify case late '15
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 31 Dec 15 - 11:01 AM

I am old fashioned, I still buy cds.. I put them on my ipad, I create playlists. I actually own the stuff and can enjoy it. Artists get paid, I get to listen.
I find the Mudcat to be a great resource. I love reading above the line, so many people with much knowledge and, for the most part, very civil discussion.
Yes, Thanks Max...a treasure trove this.


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